Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

To all my fellow Dads out there!

My Dad passed away in 1992, and I never realized how much I loved him until he was gone. But then I think it's that way with a lot of Father's and sons. We never appreciate all they did for us, and all the things they taught us. It's that old "Two Males Bumping Heads" thing.

I'm blessed I have a better relationship with my son than my Dad did with me. My Dad was pretty "Old School", and we used to disagree on some things that I thought were important. I know now that he just didn't understand why I did some of the things I did, and I didn't understand that he didn't understand.

Some of my "projects", the race cars in particular, he was vehemently against. He always said that if I wanted to be a "grease monkey", I should join the Army and "Learn to do it right!".

To this day I don't know if that was a slam against the Army, or me......Dad was a SeaBee in WWII, and truly loved the Navy.

He didn't understand that I looked at it like an Engineering Project, to build the best car I could, using my 'different' way of looking at things than most other car builders did.

He finally got a glimmer when he stopped in to visit with the machinist that was doing all my work. He knew the machinist's Dad from the navy, and had sold my guy his Bridgeport mill and Logan lathe.

My machinist showed him the work he was doing for me, all my detailed notes and drawings for the parts I was having fabricated, and told my Dad that my concepts were some of the most innovative he'd ever seen, and Dad should be proud of me for being able to think like that, and having the ability to put it on paper, proper drawings and all.

After that, Dad kinda quit bugging me about the car, and when I started setting records, I heard from friends that he was baffled about why I was doing it, but proud of the good job I was doing.

So, in honor of Dad's everywhere, here's an old post I did sometime back.

Things My Father Taught Me

Any job worth doing is worth doing well, or don't do it at all.
If you don't know, ASK!
If you think you know, but aren't sure, find an expert and ASK!
(My Dad really did believe the “No Such Thing As A Dumb Question” mantra).
LEARN the proper, correct names of your tools, whether a hand tool or a machine tool.
Make a drawing or sketch and materials list before you start.
Have all the required tools and materials on hand before starting.
Do your layout work on the side that won't be seen, and protect the finish side during cutting and machining.
Measure TWICE, cut ONCE!
Remove all jewelry and loose clothing before using machine tools. Roll your sleeves up, and tie back long hair.
Buy the best tools you can afford. The “pain” of paying for quality tools only lasts a little while, while the pain of using cheap tools lasts much longer, and costs much more in damaged projects and scrap.
Always clean your tools and work area when you're done for the day. Store your tools properly.
Promptly clean any liquid spilled on the floor, and keep the floor swept clean of any chips.
If using someone else's tools or work area, leave them/it cleaner than when you started.
Keep your cutting tools sharp. Don't let them bang around in your tool box. Dull tools can damage your work and cause accidents.
Keep your measuring tools clean and in a separate drawer. Precision tools should be treated as such, and not allowed to bang around in a drawer with other tools.
NEVER force a tool to do a job it wasn't designed for!
NEVER “store” the chuck key for your drill press in the chuck!
Always clamp the work to the table, or use a drilling vise to hold it. Thin metal will “bite” when the bit breaks through the other side, and a spinning workpiece can be extremely dangerous.
When possible, 'back up' your workpiece with a wood block or sheet so that you don't drill into the table.
NEVER use your hands to remove the swarf or chips! Besides being very sharp, they can also be very hot. Use a small brush to remove them.
Know the “Speeds and Feeds” for the material you're working with. Aluminum is very different than steel.
Use the proper coolant/lubricant when required.
NEVER grind plastic, aluminum, copper, or “soft” brass on a grinding wheel!
Keep your grinding wheels dressed and true, and stand off to the side when turning on the grinder.
(Always good advice. I've had grinding wheels fly apart a second or two after I turned the grinder on, and wire-wheels shed all their wire!)
Unless you have no choice, or no other tool, use a WRENCH on a bolt or nut, not a pair of pliers.
There are at least four types of 'cross-point' screw heads, and they're NOT all “Phillips heads”.
(In case you're interested, there's Phillips, Fearson, JIS B 1012, Pozidriv, Supadriv, Torq-set, and a couple of others that I forget. The driver tips or bits are NOT interchangeable among them, as they'll either chew up the screw, the bit, or both!)
There's no such thing as a “Flat Head Screwdriver”. There are flat BLADE screwdrivers, but a “Flat Head” is a type of head on a screw, not the tool to turn it.
A Pipe Wrench is NOT a Monkey Wrench.
The teeth on a hacksaw blade point FORWARDS when it's properly installed.
Hacksaws and files cut on the FORWARD stroke ONLY. Lift them off the work on the back stroke.
It's a poor workman who blames his tools.


  1. Sounds a lot like my Dad, except for the caring for tools part. If 1/2" and 9/16" combo wrenches (along with any other common hand tool) were seed, he'd have had a bumper crop of 'em. When he was done working on something, that is where they were dropped.

  2. I agree with all of the rules you listed. I also violate all of the rules you listed along with all of the rules others have listed. I'm not proud of this, I'm just being honest. As I get older, I tend to violate safety and tool rules less and less frequently, but you still probably would not like to watch me use a chainsaw,or an acetylene torch, or a skidloader, or a tractor, or pickup truck with a snowplow, or an ATV. or a hammer, or a crescent wrench, or a semi-truck,or a screwdriver, or a computer... Anyway, I like your blog and I am putting a link to it on mine. I would be honored if you'd consider doing the same.

  3. Good rules, all. I had a brief career, early on, as a machinist - and wouldn't have done as well if my dad hadn't told me most of those rules, too.

  4. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe that this amazing
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